Duterte lashes out at boxing icon Pacquiao

·2-min read

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has lashed out at boxing icon Manny Pacquiao for allegedly saying that corruption has worsened under the current administration, calling him a "son of a bitch playing politics" ahead of elections next year.

In a late-night televised address on Monday, Duterte challenged Pacquiao, who is an incumbent senator, to come up with a list of corrupt government agencies or he would campaign against the boxing champion in next year's elections.

"If you fail to do that, I will campaign against you because you are not doing your duty," the president said. "Do it because if not, I will just tell the people, do not vote for Pacquiao because he is a liar."

"If you don't, you'll just be another son of a bitch playing politics," he added.

Pacquiao has not publicly spoken out against corruption in the Duterte administration, but the two had exchanged words over the disputed South China Sea.

The eight-time boxing champion had criticised Duterte's stand in the dispute with China as "lacking" and "disheartening." The president said Pacquiao had "shallow" knowledge of foreign policies.

The 42-year-old boxer, who has been one of Duterte's staunch supporters, is seen as among the possible contenders in presidential elections next year. Pacquiao has yet to announce plans to run for president.

Duterte's daughter, currently mayor of their home city of Davao in the southern Philippines, has also been identified as a possible successor. Mayor Sara Duterte has said she does not intend to run for president next year, but allies are asking her to reconsider.

Duterte also said he may consider running for vice president next year when his term ends "if there is a space for me", although opponents have described such a prospect as "a joke of the worst kind."

His remarks on Monday night were the strongest sign that he is considering calls by ruling PDP-Laban party allies for him to run for the vice president post to continue his government programs.

Philippine presidents are barred by the 1987 constitution for running for re-election after their single, six-year term.

At least two former presidents, Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, have made successful runs for lower public offices after serving as president but not the vice president post.

Vice president is separately elected from the president under Philippine law. Those who serve in the post could potentially be propelled to the top role if the president dies or is incapacitated for any reason.

with AP

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